Germans and French Work the Least, Croatians Have Longest Working Week

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A regular working week in Finland is 37.5 hours and workers can work overtime to a maximum of 48 hours a week, four months in a year and they cannot work more than 13 hours in one day. It is no wonder that only 13 percent of Fins work overtime because the premium on their wage for the first two hours of overtime work in a day is 50%. For the third and every hour of overtime after that, the premium is 100% whereas the weekly premium for overtime work is 50%. Any violation of the law on working hours can carry a fine or prison sentence of up to six months.

Most of the overtime work in Croatia is in the private sector, however, data on how much is worked are not available. Unlike Finland, Croatia’s legislation just notes that overtime work is paid but it does not specify how much and that is left up to the few collective agreements in the private sector.

Even though a long working week is detrimental to physical and mental health as well as negatively impacting the balance between working and private lives, a study related to overtime work in the EU, Norway and Great Britain, conducted by Eurofound, shows that some countries consider it to be normal for workers to work overtime while in other countries, overtime work is an exception.

The minimum premium for overtime work a day in European countries amounts to 10, 25, or 40 percent, the most common overtime premium is 50% while for overtime during public holidays, night shifts or rest days that premium is increased 100 percent or in some cases as much as 150%.

Workers in some countries are awarded 1.5 hours of free time for every hour of overtime work. The Eurofound study shows that in Croatia and Romania, instead of being paid for overtime work, workers are usually granted time off. The European directive on working hours from 2003 limits the maximum working week to 48 hours, including overtime work, and workers have to have at least 11 hours of rest.

In Germany the working week is 35.6 hours and workers can work a maximum of 10 hours in one day while the maximum working week, including overtime, is 48 hours. The premium for overtime work is defined by collective or individual contracts. Croatia has a 40-hour working week and workers can work a maximum of 50 hours in one week.

However, the long working week does not increase productivity and is detrimental to health and productivity. Workers in Croatia can reject overtime work unless it is required by emergency circumstances, the Večernji List says.


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